Cinnamon coffee cake

Soft, fluffy, buttery goodness – who can resist this, especially in the morning with a steamy cup of coffee? Extra bonus: you probably already have all these ingredients somewhere in your kitchen.

Servings: one standard size loaf pan

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g melted butter

Glaze

  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Directions

  1. Separately mix the wet and dry ingredients for the cake. Make sure you sift the dry stuff well (saves you the headache of lumpy batter later)
  2. Slowly add the dry cake mix into the wet mix, folding well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175 C
  4. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan
  5. Prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients well
  6. Pour the topping over the batter, and swirl with a knife
  7. Bake for 40 minutes
  8. While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze over it. The glaze will harden somewhat when the cake is completely cooled
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Sooji

This popular south Indian dessert is one of my favorites. I like adding extra cashews to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of upma or sooji rava
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of split cashews
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of butter or ghee
  • a pinch of saffron

Directions

  1. Toast the cashews and raisins, then set them aside
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet, and toast the rava
  3. Once the rava is a golden color, add the water and mix well.
  4. Lower the heat, and let the rava absorb the water. Stir occasionally.
  5. Once the water is fully absorbed, add the sugar. Stir well.
  6. Add the saffron and cardamom
  7. Remove from heat, and top with the cashews and raisins

Zucchini Bread

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I met some resistance from our resident Indian on the notion of using zucchini in a sweet dish, but by the end of the third slice, we rounded up another zucchini bread convert.

Servings: one 8×4 in loaf pan

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (about half a nut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (100 g)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, or beans from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cup of grated zucchini (~ 1 small zucchini)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C
  2. Grease the loaf pan
  3. Mix the eggs, zucchini, sugar, butter, vanilla in a bowl
  4. Separately combine the dry ingredients
  5. Gradually incorporate the flour mix into the egg mix; stir well to prevent a lumpy batter
  6. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and tamp it
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick/chopstick comes out clean
  8. Cool for 30 minutes before attempting to unmold

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

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I love the way the nutmeg and almond flavors play off of each other in this recipe. For next time – the blueberries are so sweet that using less sugar would bring better balance to the cake (adjusted recipe below).

Serves: one 22 cm cake pan, or 8 slices (I used a springform cake pan – very easy to release the cake)

Ingredients

  • 50 g melted butter (around 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 100 g almond slivers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup quark and 1/4 cup plain yogurt (possible substitute: 1/2 cup of sour cream)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • half of a nutmeg (ground) – I would estimate this is between 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, using the convection setting (without the convection setting: 175 C)
  2. Combine the butter and sugar; mix it until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Add the egg, almond extract, milk, yogurt, and quark
  4. Separately mix the dry ingredients together
  5. Gradually add the dry mix into the wet mix, making sure to incorporate the flour smoothly in the batter
  6. Fold in the blueberries and slivered almonds
  7. Spread the batter in the cake pan
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the cake comes out clean
  9. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top
  10. Let the cake rest for about 20 minutes before trying to unmold it

Puff Pastry Almond Pear Tart

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I’ve been on a baking kick lately. I think it’s because I’m immersed in a culture that loves sweets more than Americans. Pears and almonds complement each other so well, and they are in abundance in Germany. This tart came together surprisingly fast because the puff pastry crust was store-bought. I’m not ashamed. I used a 26 cm springform, which yields around 8 slices of tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of puff pastry (“Bl√§ttertieg”), thawed
  • 200 g marzipan
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 4 small ripe pears, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 26 cm springform with the puff pastry.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the marzipan, almond meal, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
  4. Pour the mixture over the puff pastry, and spread it evenly with a spatula.
  5. Place the pears cut side up in a radial pattern.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Cool to room temperature before serving.

 

 

Almond Horn Cookies

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These cookies are made of marzipan (almond paste and sugar), which is a very popular food in Germany. I hadn’t realized how tasty marzipan is until we moved here – I’ve made these cookies about four times now, and they were instantly devoured every time. It gets a little messy, so the best order of operations is laid out below.

Servings: 8 cookies

Ingredients

  • 200 g marzipan (1 packet)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g sliced almonds
  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup milk (I just eyeballed it)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp sugar, set aside

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.
  2. Spread the sliced almonds on a dish.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with some baking paper.
  4. In a small saucepan on extremely low heat, melt the chocolate, milk, and butter. Keep an eye on this so that it doesn’t boil or burn. Stir occasionally. When the mixture is well combined, stir in the 2 tsp sugar.
  5. Combine the egg, almond extract, 2 tbsp sugar, marzipan, and almond meal in a bowl. I mixed this by hand. It gets all over the place.
  6. Take about 1 tbsp of the mixture and roll it into a log directly on the dish with sliced almonds.
  7. Fold the log into a horn shape, and place it on the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Dip the ends in the chocolate mixture.
  11. Refrigerate until the chocolate has cooled into a shell, around 3o minutes.
  12. Try not to eat the whole pan.

 

Pecan Pie

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Super easy pecan pie – takes around an hour to make when you use puff pastry as the crust, and about 4 hours when you make the crust by hand (but this is mostly waiting for the dough to chill). I took the crust recipe from Serious Eats, and I like what they had to say about why the dough works:

  • One round of folding provides eight major layers with minimal fuss.
  • Refrigerating the dough after shaping ensures it’s fully chilled and relaxed, preserving its flakes in the oven.

Ingredients

Depending on how much time you have, decide if you want to do a quick crust or a proper crust.

Crust (Quick)

  • thawed puff pastry (enough to line your pie pan; 1 packet should do the trick)

Crust (Proper)

  • 1/2 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 112 g butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes (this size is important, as smaller pieces will melt too fast)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Filling

  • 200 g pecans
  • 400 ml caramel sauce or about 36 unwrapped soft caramels
  • 100 g brown sugar (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • vanilla beans from 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 g butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • optional: 1 tbsp rum

Directions

Crust (Quick)

  1.  Trim the puff pastry to fit the pie pan.
  2. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes with pie weights (baking blind).

Crust (Proper)

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. Toss the butter with flour mixture to break up the pieces.
  3. With your fingertips, smash each cube flat. No rubbing or cutting. It should not blend completely with the flour.
  4. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.
  6. Roll dough into a roughly 5- by 8-inch rectangle.
  7. Fold the 5-inch sides to the center, then close the newly formed packet like a book.
  8. Fold in half once more, bringing the short sides together to create a thick block.
  9. Using as much flour as needed, roll into a circle to fit your pie pan
  10. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the edge so that it overhangs by 1 1/4 inches all around.
  11. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  12. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes with pie weights (baking blind).

Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the caramel, butter, and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Slowly fold the caramel sauce and lemon juice into the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the caramel mixture in the pan.
  6. Arrange the pecan pieces in a radial pattern.
  7. Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool until the filling is set, around 30 minutes.